|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2017-01-02                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than a year old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Jan. 2, 2017
Extended Hunting Seasons Provide Opportunities to Fill Deer, Turkey Tags
Youth-Only, Muzzleloader and Special Late Seasons Open Today Through Jan. 15
AUSTIN - The general white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkey season closed in most parts of the state on New Year's Day, but that doesn't mean hunters with unused tags are out of luck. Special youth-only and late season opportunities start today and run through Jan. 15.
The two-week youth-only late season is open in all counties where there is a general open season for white-tailed deer or a fall hunting season for Rio Grande turkey. All legal hunting means and methods are allowed, except in Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties, where hunting is only allowed with archery equipment and crossbows. Only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt deer during a youth-only season and hunter education requirements still apply. Be sure to check the county-specific harvest restrictions in the Outdoor Annual.
Youth-only open season provides young hunters with opportunities to learn about wildlife conservation through an enjoyable and memorable outdoor experience allowing parents and mentors to introduce them to safe and responsible hunting.
During the special late white-tailed deer season in 106 counties in the North Zone and 30 in the South Zone, harvest is restricted to antlerless and unbranched antlered deer only. The late season provides additional opportunity for landowners and managers to attain deer harvest goals on their property.
The special muzzleloader-only season provides an opportunity for hunters in 90 counties to pursue white-tailed deer with primitive firearms. A muzzleloader is any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle. A cap and ball firearm in which the powder and ball are loaded into a cylinder is not a muzzleloader. Muzzleloader deer seasons are restricted to muzzleloading firearms only.
Hunters are reminded the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department continues to accept harvested deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling as part of the state's ongoing monitoring program. Since March 2016, the department has sampled more than 8,500 susceptible species, including whitetails, mule deer and elk. Information about CWD, including options for providing harvested deer for sampling, can be found online at http://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/diseases/cwd/ .

[ Note: This item is more than a year old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Jan. 2, 2017
TPWD Taking Public Comment on Proposed Shad Collection Rules
AUSTIN -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the regulations on the possession and sale of gizzard and threadfin shad collected from public waters, which would require persons who collect or possess shad in excess of certain limits to obtain a permit.
TPWD currently issues permits for the sale of nongame fishes taken from public waters, which includes gizzard and threadfin shad sold as live, frozen, or prepared bait. Some permittees also collect live shad from public reservoirs for sale or as part of management services provided to private pond owners to increase the abundance of prey fishes in a pond and improve the growth and size of fish such as largemouth bass.
Shad are also collected by private landowners to stock as prey in their private lakes. These persons are currently not required to obtain a permit because no sale is involved, but the proposed changes would require persons who use containers exceeding 82 quarts in volume for collection and possession of shad from public fresh waters to obtain a $60 permit to possess or sell nongame fish.
A permit would continue to be required if the shad collected are sold or exchanged for anything of value regardless of the container size used, but no permit would be required if the shad are used only as bait on the waterbody where they were collected, or if a licensed fishing guide possesses and furnishes the shad as bait to customers as part of the guide's services.
Collection of shad, especially threadfin shad, has resulted in substantial quantities being harvested from some reservoirs in the state, according to Ken Kurzawski, TPWD Inland Fisheries Director of Information and Regulations. Although the impacts on fishes in the reservoirs where these activities occur appear to be minimal at this time, requiring a permit for activities that can result in substantial harvest will allow the department to more fully monitor these activities to ensure their sustainability.
The department is also proposing additional minor changes to the permits such as providing for up to eight persons to be named on a permit as assistants and incorporating procedures into the permit requirements for reducing the spread of invasive aquatic species such as zebra mussels.
Proposed rules are available for review in the Dec. 23, 2016 issue of the Texas Register http://www.sos.texas.gov/texreg/pdf/backview/1223/1223prop.pdf.
Public comment may be made online at http://tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/; by phone or e-mail to Ken Kurzawski (512) 389-4591, e-mail ken.kurzawski@tpwd.texas.gov; or in person during the TPWD Commission meeting on Jan. 26 at 9 a.m. at 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744.